New Student Photo Series 2011 – Post #18

There is still plenty of time for incoming students to submit photos for posting on the blog.  See this entry for details.

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Hi, my name is Andrew Hill, an incoming MIA at SIPA.  I thought I’d share a few photos since all the cool kids are doing it.  I currently teach English on the JET Program and live in a small chain of remote islands off the coast of Japan’s Shimane prefecture; so remote, in fact, that they were once used to exile deposed emperors.

This first picture was taken on the clifftops of the Kuniga Coastline on Nishinoshima, the second largest island in Oki.  The cliffs are populated with wild horses and cows; or wild in the sense that they have free reign of the place.  They’re actually pretty tame.

The second photo (SIPA 2.jpg) was taken behind Dangyo-taki on Dogo, the largest of the four inhabited islands.  Dangyo is a sacred waterfall, and you can tell by the tori-gate that leads up to a shrine, out of view to the right of the photo.

This last picture is also from Dogo.  This one is of their recent Go-rei festival that involves racing sacred horses at breakneck speeds up the path to a small shrine.  Rather than riding the horses through the gate, teams of five men steer the horse by hand while running along side of it.  The man in the photo has gone through a week-long seclusion and purification process in order to be on one of the teams that handle the sacred horses.  Here, he and the horse are slowing to a stop after just dashing through the main gate of the shrine.

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Student: David Ganske
Degree Program: MIA

The photos in this series were all taken in front of my home in Kabou, Togo during my time there as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Each photo was taken at a different time of year to show the seasonal changes of Togo’s woodland savana climate zone. The first two photos show vegetation during the Rainy Season while the final two photos were taken during the Dry Season.

The first photo was taken in June 2008, shortly after planting corn. All tilling, planting, placing fertilizer, and harvesting would be done by hand.

The second photo was taken one month later in July 2008 after the corn had reached a height of about 20 inches. Soon the family would return to remove weeds around the base of the stalks.

The third photo was taken in early November 2008, following harvest. Women are traditionally expected to harvest by breaking the stalks and removing the corn.

The final photo, taken in late November 2008, shows the last stage of the farming cycle in Togo known as “The Burn”. To clear the land and to rid the area of snakes and other predators, farmers blanket their land with fire within just several minutes time. This practice has become controversial because it also contributes to soil depletion.